Offshore company solution protecting high-value marine cables

It takes your breath away when you see giant vessels like Svanen constructing offshore wind farms. You can witness how fast and easy Svanen places the monopiles that will produce megawatts of clean energy. The serenity of the sea and the robustness of the vessel do not evoke any thoughts of disastrous accidents.


This is how it looks to your average citizen, but professionals at van Oord think about the risks and how to proactively prevent them. The vessel is surrounded by deep level anchors to keep it in place. What happens if the anchors break free from their moorings? An 8,000-tonne lift installation vessel will start drifting. One may ask: “And what if?” Apart from creating a huge wave and just drifting on the water surface, it risks damaging the various cables on the ocean floor. For example, if the Transatlantic Internet cable gets damaged it will lead to a real catastrophe. The risk for such an accident is minimal, but the consequences can be devastating. To tackle these risks van Oord contacted SODAQ to develop a device that could notify both the vessel crew and onshore operators about any unexpected behaviour of the mooring anchors.


SODAQ Engineering is specialised in state-of-the-art low power tracking solutions and was excited to take on this challenge. The solution principle is to track the awash buoys that are securely connected to the deep level anchors and float on the sea surface. SODAQ’s team saw several constraints for off-the-shelf trackers: water splashes can degrade the GPS signal, salty water can permeate or deteriorate any enclosure, no network or power connection means it needs to be autonomous and most importantly the buoys are constantly in motion.

SODAQ engineers came up with a robust, autonomous tracking solution that analyses its coordinates within a timeframe and chooses a median fixed point for the tracker. For network connectivity, SODAQ proposed to use the LoRa technology to make the solution independent from mobile network operators as the vessels operate all over the world and due to its ultra-long distance coverage. Salty seawater is a harsh condition for any device and can corrode the most sturdy components and screws, so the challenge for the SODAQ team was to make the device truly robust. To realise this potting technology was used.


But how will the device be powered in the middle of the sea? How will the operators change the batteries and device settings? To answer this question SODAQ used its expertise in creating low power energy harvesting devices and designed a solar-powered tracker that charges itself and does not need any maintenance as all the configuration updates can be done over the air.

On the backend, all the measurements from the device go to the dashboard and are displayed in real-time, in case of any critical movement the operators’ team will be notified about the accident within one minute. A customised dashboard developed for this project is informative and easy to use. Operators have full information on the alarms, device status, battery and position, and can update the settings remotely over the air.

Is SODAQ MARINE for you?

Interested in learning more about our industry standard pontoon tracker? Please get in touch using the Get in Touch button on the bottom right, send an email to or give us a call at +31 30 300 0301.

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Irina Novikova
Account Manager
+31 35 300 0301

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